Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Local Heroes - Southend Rocks
Until it finally closed a few years ago, my favourite local, second-hand record and bookshop (and the only place you'd get a fair price for your hand-me-down albums) was run by a genial 'Mr Pleasant' type, that would give a welcoming tap on the window whenever I passed by holding up items of interest, and keeping Beatles bits 'n' bobs back for me .
His shop was perma-stocked with an unusually healthy amount of quality goodies - framed sheet music, retro posters and promo CDs. So a bit of surpise then, when I heard the local BBC radio station dropping a reference to Mr Pleasant's shop - turns out he was none other than the Abbey Road/Decca legend Peter Eden, who'd discovered and signed Donovan after catching one of his early gigs in Southend..
He never managed a Donovan sized strike again, but had his fingers in several sixties pies - musician, manager, songwriter, A&R man and producer. A selection of which were collected for a limited edition (1000 copies) anthology of Pete Eden productions released last year - appropriately titled 'Nice'
Two of the many sixties band's to get the Eden treatment were also fellow Southenders - Crocheted Donut Ring - (whaddya mean you've never heard of them?), whose 'Get Out Your Rock and Roll Shoes' was/is one of my most played nuggets..
Crocheted Donut Ring - Get Out Your Rock and Roll Shoes
And River, formed from the crumbling scraps of Crocheted Donut Ring...
River - 'California Here I Come'
His shop may have gone, but Peter Eden is still alive, well and living in the Southend area with an active interest in music - in fact the last time I spotted him, he was bustling around catching some acts at the Leigh Folk Festival.
As footnote of Hi-randomness - Peter also devised,drummed (as Bongo),wrote the theme and a few songs for seventies Kiddy-cult show Animal Kwackers